A foreign policy perspective that is… refreshing:
Donald Trump, in a highly anticipated speech on the heels of his primary-contest sweep across the Northeast, called Wednesday for a drastic shake-up in America’s foreign policy – including “getting out of the nation-building business” and demanding NATO allies pay their “fair share” or be left to “defend themselves.”
“It’s time to shake the rust off America’s foreign policy,” the Republican presidential front-runner said.
In what was billed as a major policy speech, Trump called for an “America first” approach. To that theme, Trump voiced skepticism toward international deals like NAFTA and said a Trump administration would not allow the U.S. to enter agreements that reduce America’s ability to control its own affairs. He panned what he described as the “false song of globalism.”
The speech, read from a teleprompter and focused on policy, was also heavy on campaign-season slams against President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. He called their policies “aimless” and destructive, and criticized them for not using the term “radical Islam.”
“We went from mistakes in Iraq to Egypt to Libya to President Obama’s line in the sand in Syria,” Trump said. He said this has allowed the Islamic State to thrive — but said, going forward, the U.S. is out of “nation-building.”
Rather, he said the focus will be on restoring stability, and containing the spread of radical Islam. “ISIS will be gone if I’m elected president,” he claimed.
A refreshing return of realpolitik and of shaping foreign policy through a lens of what is good for America. And a badly needed projection of strength, along with actual leadership on the world stage.
Meanwhile, he stood by his controversial stance on NATO allies, complaining only four other member countries besides the U.S. spend the minimum 2 percent of GDP on defense.
The countries we are defending must pay for the cost of this defense … and if not, the U.S. must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves. We have no choice.”…
It’s funny: now even The Organizer is singing this song, as I saw him do on the Charlie Rose show last night.
He broadly called for the U.S. to project strength – and better understand who its friends and enemies are. Regarding Russia and China, he said “we are not bound to be adversaries.”
Trump has been calling for leveraging China to put pressure on North Korea to end their nuclear program, another song The Organizer is also now suddenly singing.
Trump is literally setting the agenda for both the right and the left.
UPDATE: The full speech has been posted on Trump’s website. Some choice passages:
- It all began with the dangerous idea that we could make Western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interest in becoming a Western Democracy. We tore up what institutions they had and then were surprised at what we unleashed. Civil war, religious fanaticism; thousands of American lives, and many trillions of dollars, were lost as a result. The vacuum was created that ISIS would fill. Iran, too, would rush in and fill the void, much to their unjust enrichment.
- Our manufacturing trade deficit with the world is now approaching $1 trillion a year. We’re rebuilding other countries while weakening our own.
- We’ve had a president who dislikes our friends and bows to our enemies.
- [O]ur rivals no longer respect us. In fact, they are just as confused as our allies, but an even bigger problem is that they don’t take us seriously any more. When President Obama landed in Cuba on Air Force One, no leader was there to meet or greet him – perhaps an incident without precedent in the long and prestigious history of Air Force One. Then, amazingly, the same thing happened in Saudi Arabia — it’s called no respect.
- We’re going to finally have a coherent foreign policy based upon American interests, and the shared interests of our allies. We are getting out of the nation-building business, and instead focusing on creating stability in the world.
- The struggle against radical Islam also takes place in our homeland. There are scores of recent migrants inside our borders charged with terrorism. For every case known to the public, there are dozens more. We must stop importing extremism through senseless immigration policies. A pause for reassessment will help us to prevent the next San Bernardino or worse — all you have to do is look at the World Trade Center and September 11th.
- [W]e must develop a foreign policy based on American interests. Businesses do not succeed when they lose sight of their core interests and neither do countries… Our foreign policy goals must be based on America’s core national security interests, and the following will be my priorities. In the Middle East, our goals must be to defeat terrorists and promote regional stability, not radical change. We need to be clear-sighted about the groups that will never be anything other than enemies.
- We desire to live peacefully and in friendship with Russia and China. We have serious differences with these two nations, and must regard them with open eyes. But we are not bound to be adversaries. We should seek common ground based on shared interests. Russia, for instance, has also seen the horror of Islamic terrorism. I believe an easing of tensions and improved relations with Russia – from a position of strength – is possible. Common sense says this cycle of hostility must end. Some say the Russians won’t be reasonable. I intend to find out. If we can’t make a good deal for America, then we will quickly walk from the table. Fixing our relations with China is another important step towards a prosperous century. China respects strength, and by letting them take advantage of us economically, we have lost all of their respect. We have a massive trade deficit with China, a deficit we must find a way, quickly, to balance. A strong and smart America is an America that will find a better friend in China. We can both benefit or we can both go our separate ways.
- After I am elected President, I will also call for a summit with our NATO allies, and a separate summit with our Asian allies. In these summits, we will not only discuss a rebalancing of financial commitments, but take a fresh look at how we can adopt new strategies for tackling our common challenges. For instance, we will discuss how we can upgrade NATO’s outdated mission and structure – grown out of the Cold War – to confront our shared challenges, including migration and Islamic terrorism.
- Many Americans must wonder why our politicians seem more interested in defending the borders of foreign countries than their own. Americans must know that we are putting the American people first again. On trade, on immigration, on foreign policy – the jobs, incomes and security of the American worker will always be my first priority. No country has ever prospered that failed to put its own interests first. Both our friends and enemies put their countries above ours and we, while being fair to them, must do the same.
- We will no longer surrender this country, or its people, to the false song of globalism. The nation-state remains the true foundation for happiness and harmony. I am skeptical of international unions that tie us up and bring America down, and will never enter America into any agreement that reduces our ability to control our own affairs. NAFTA, as an example, has been a total disaster for the U.S. and has emptied our states of our manufacturing and our jobs. Never again. Only the reverse will happen. We will keep our jobs and bring in new ones. Their will be consequences for companies that leave the U.S. only to exploit it later.
- Under a Trump Administration, no American citizen will ever again feel that their needs come second to the citizens of foreign countries. I will view the world through the clear lens of American interests. I will be America’s greatest defender and most loyal champion. We will not apologize for becoming successful again, but will instead embrace the unique heritage that makes us who we are. The world is most peaceful, and most prosperous, when America is strongest.